Activist Tamika Mallory and others are hailing Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Joyce Beatty and those who joined her in their recent demostration to move the U.S. Senate to pass legislation to protect voting rights for their “true act of solidarity” as they willingly got arrested to make their statement.
Mallory, Beatty, Melanie Campbell of the Black Women’s Roundtable and many other Black women convened on Capitol Hill hoping to urge U.S. senators to move from inaction on the issue of voting rights protections, an issue many deem as foundational to protecting U.S. democracy.
A total of 10 Black women were arrested by Capitol Police for holding their demonstration in the Senate Hart Building including Beatty, a Democratic from Ohio. The women were transported to Capitol police holding in vans. Their jail conditions included a community toilet in the cell resembling those of county lockups across the country.
It should be noted that few, if any rioters who participated in the January 6 insurrection were arrested on that day, though they carried weapons, hunted down U.S. elected offcials (including the then VP of the United States, Mike Pence), beat several police officers, killing at least one, on that day, destroying property and screaming death threats to police, media and U.S. elected officials alike.
It should also be noted that the peacefully demostrating Black women who were arrested were placed in zip ties, the same zip ties several of the January 6 insurrectionists carried to reportedly capture, detain and possibly torture or kill U.S. lawmakers who had convened on that day to ratify the 2020 Presidential Election.
According to Mallory, Campbell’s organization, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, made sure all the women were financially covered for any arrests and subsequent bail money. According to theGrio, the NAACP also stepped in to financially help with the release of those arrested.
Rep. Beatty and Campbell are now out of custody.
Not all who were part of the protest were arrested, including Mallory, LaTosha Brown of Black Voters Matter and former Washington First Lady Cora Masters Barry.
“For those of us who were not able to complete the civil disobedience, we will certainly be back,” Mallory told theGrio. “We will continue to organize and I think our goal is to make sure people around the nation see us, and they see the work we are doing; and they see the sacrifice and we begin to replicate these actions in the local districts of those, including Democrats, who are obstacles to justice.”
In response to the arrests, several politicos voiced support for the demonstrators, including NAACP President Derrick Johnson who tweeted, “It’s a shame that this is still the price you pay for defending democracy!”
Dormer Obama administration Education Secretary Arne Duncan also took to Twitter to show his support for Beatty, Mallory and the other protesters.
“We were compliant,” Brown explained, adding, “They asked us to leave the premises because we were singing and chanting.”
Vice President Kamala Harris invited the Black women protesters and activists to the White House for a meeting on Friday to talk about voting rights. The meeting will last an hour with about 20 of the women.
Earlier in the week, while in Philadelphia, President Joe Biden called on Congress to “act” on voting rights cognizant of the fact that we are now voting without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Mallory and other demonstrators viewed their actions on the Hill as a public response to Biden’s call.
Still, there are countless peoplefrom across the country waiting for Biden to take his own advice and act to protect voting rights.